We know why men toss women into swimming pools, and we know why men have a DNA requirement to try to make women laugh, but what is it about men driving cars and harassing women on the street? It seems as if the stereotypical wolf-whistle has moved from the sidewalk of a construction site and into the anonymous, mobile, safety of the driver’s seat.
I hear so many stories from female friends — and even my darling wife! — who have to deal with men following them in cars as they walk along the street.
These men hang out near railway stations and bus stops — and generic street intersections — and when they see a woman they want to engage, they start up their cars and begin the low-speed chase.
The men honk and wave their arms and say disgusting things that, I guess, are supposed to sexually excite a woman so much that she’ll be inexplicably drawn into the passenger seat of the car and ride off into his smoggy sunset.
When these women try to ignore these men in cars, they are followed even closer — turn-by-turn, block-by-block — and the come-ons become insults and the passion changes to hatred.
The only way to escape these unwanted followers is to abruptly turn around and walk in the other direction — walk, don’t run, or you’ll look scared and vulnerable — but that doesn’t always work because these guys are experts at turning around and finding you again. They’ll even camp out at an intersection to track you.
So these women are forced to go out of their way to avoid the stalkers-in-cars — sometimes they have to travel several long blocks to find a safer route home — and that unfairly adds time and distance to already tired feet and exhausted minds.
A few women try to fight back by making a phone call while being trailed — that usually works because a “third party” is introduced into the chaser/chased dyad, and that ruins the fun for the chaser.
Some women even try to use their cellular phones to take a photo of the guy, his car, and his license plates.
The image-taking route is dangerous because it invites the next stage of a physical confrontation as the stalker parks his ride to do everything he can to remove any identifying information from the woman’s cellphone.
Why do you think men follow women in cars? Are they seeking the thrill of rejection or do they really think they will entice a woman that way?
Is this an American, big city, phenomenon — or is men-in-cars stalking women also happening in the villages and hamlets of a quieter USA? Does this happen in other countries, too?